How to survive a heart attack when alone...

Specialties Emergency


Just got this in an email and although it does sound convincing I wondered if anyone had ever heard of this before? Thanks, Deb


How to survive a heart attack when alone...

If this happens to you I hope you remember this technique which may save your life one day.

Let's say it's 6:15 p.m. and you're driving home (alone of course) after an unusually hard day on the job. You're really tired, upset and frustrated.

Suddenly you start experiencing severe pain in your chest that starts to radiate out into your arm and up into your jaw. You are only about five miles from the hospital nearest your home; unfortunately you don't know if you'll be able to make it that far. What can you do?

You've been trained in CPR but the guy that taught the course neglected to tell you how to perform it on yourself!

Since many people are alone when they suffer a heart attack, this article seemed to be in order. Without help, the person whose heart stops beating properly and who begins to feel faint, has only about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness.

However, these victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously. A deep breath should be taken before each cough, and the cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing sputum from deep inside the chest. Deep breaths and a cough must be repeated about every two seconds without letting up, until help arrives, or until the heart is felt to be beating normally again.

Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating. The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain normal rhythm.

In this way, heart attack victims can get to a hospital.


1,244 Posts

In this way, heart attack victims can get to a hospital

Gee, and wouldn't you just love to be driving down the same street as this guy??? :eek:


940 Posts

i am sorry to tell you that this is just a myth and has been proven to be totally ineffective. i just did some research on this topic. so if you have a heart attack call for help fast. coughing does nothing for you!


4 Posts

Thanks for the reply Mark. Sure didn't want to forward that to anyone on my email list as advice without knowing for sure.


4 Posts

Hi Deb

I have seen this method of cpr used by a patient about 15 years ago and a quick literature search shows some other case studies...some successful, some not. Basically it is something you can use on your own to improve your chances of survival but don't cough and drive!

Cheers, Daniel


4 Posts

Thanks Daniel!


111 Posts

Specializes in inpatient hospice house.

Thanks for the information. I remember hearing about this but forgot. I just read it to my husband and son so they would know.

Specializes in ER, ICU, L&D, OR.


from deep in the heat of texas

Me I just prayed.

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